Everyone always remembers their first. Last night I completed my first Metal Gear game. Thank you Kojima for creating this masterpiece of a video game. I had previously started Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, but I only played for an hour or two. I also played Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes and really loved the gameplay, but I don’t think I can count that as a full Metal Gear game. It did lead me to purchase Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but I did not get very far into it. I also loved Metal Gear Ac!d on the PlayStation Portable, but we all know that a collectible card game is not really a Metal Gear game, and also why did has this game not been released for the Nintendo Switch yet. As soon as I started Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater I could not put it down and I’m glad I started it.
There were many aspects that I enjoyed about the game. Most of all I enjoyed the gameplay, the characters, and the way Kojima used interactive media to tell a story. Every time I entered a new area I knew I was in for a treat. First and foremost the game is designed around sneaking. You are encouraged to sneak around enemies and find the optimal path through an area. Each level felt like an intricate puzzle, waiting for me to figure out the secrets, passages, and hidden collectibles. The sneaking is top notch, and I would argue that the gameplay is better than Splinter Cell because of the way that the sneaking occurs. Splinter Cell encourages you to hide in the dark and avoid enemies at all costs, whereas Metal Gear encourages you to blend into the environment and engage with enemies when it is necessary. Using and combing flashbangs, tranquilizers, and cardboard boxes made me feel like there were multiple paths through each area and makes me want to play more.
The characters were especially enjoyable. Everyone felt unique and engaging. Snake has an oblivious charm that makes his interactions with other characters comical. Ocelot easily became one of my favorite characters with his brash demeanor and fantastic juggling skills. The boss battles used the unique attributes of the characters to create memorable sequences that were each different and challenging in their own way. Volgin forces you to relearn previous tactics, while The Sorrow forces you to remember all of the tools that you have available. Even the enigmatic Boss became one of my favorite characters because of the way her backstory is slowly revealed and her true intentions become clear at the end of the game. Even though the story is silly and contrived the characters kept me coming back just to see what would happen.
Video games are often compared to interactive films. But too often video game designers use pre-rendered footage to tell the story found within the game, rather than let the game tell a story organically. It is immensely clear that the creator of Metal Gear, Hideo Kojima, wanted to use the interactive nature of video games in order to tell his story. There is one sequence that stands out, when Snake is climbing a ladder from the sewers towards the mountaintop passage way that will lead to the enemies fortress. The ladder is comically long, but after a few seconds of climbing the games main theme song begins to play softly in the background. As the player continues to climb the theme swells and increases in volume until the player reaches the top, when it all abruptly stops. This sequence was perfectly executed as a masterpiece in game design. The creators could have easily had this ladder climbing sequence set up as a long cutscene with the theme song playing in the background, but instead they forced the player to do the actual climbing by holding the thumbstick forward.
Combing the gameplay, characters, and use of interactive media I knew that this game would forever enter my list of favorite games of all time. When the credits finally finished the only thought I had was where can I get more of this tactical espionage action. Luckily for me Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was just released as a backwards compatible game on the Xbox One.
Do you enjoy the Metal Gear series? Which game should I play next?
Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks